Exploring the role of adult attachment, major depression and childhood trauma in arterial stiffness: A preliminary study

SAKALLI KANİ A., Çinçin A., Özercan A., Şenoğuz U. D., Örnek E., DOKUZ G., ...More

Journal of Psychosomatic Research, vol.171, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 171
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2023.111386
  • Journal Name: Journal of Psychosomatic Research
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, Gender Studies Database, MEDLINE, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Psycinfo
  • Keywords: Arterial stiffness, Attachment, Childhood trauma, Depression
  • Bezmialem Vakıf University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: Prior research indicates a noteworthy and intricate connection between depression and subclinical atherosclerosis. Nevertheless, the biological and psychological mechanisms that underlie this association are not yet fully understood. To address this gap, this exploratory study aimed to examine the relationship between active clinical depression and arterial stiffness (AS), with a particular focus on the potential mediating roles of attachment security and childhood trauma. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we examined 38 patients with active major depression free of dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and obesity and 32 healthy controls. All participants underwent blood tests, psychometric assessments, and AS measurements using the Mobil-O-Graph arteriograph system. AS severity was evaluated using an augmentation index (AIx) normalized to 75 beats/min. Results: In the absence of defined clinical cardiovascular risk factors, there was no significant difference in AIx between individuals with depression and healthy controls (p = .75). Patients with longer intervals between depressive episodes had lower AIx (r = −0.44, p < .01). Insecure attachment and childhood trauma did not significantly associate with AIx in patients. Whereas insecure attachment was positively correlated with AIx only in healthy controls (r = 0.50, p = 01). Conclusions: Our analysis of established risk factors for atherosclerosis revealed that depression and childhood trauma had no significant relationship with AS. However, we did identify a novel finding: insecure attachment was significantly associated with AS severity in healthy adults without defined cardiovascular risk factors for the first time. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate this relationship.